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How to Create Internal Team Communication Effectively

by Mar 21, 2018Language and Culture, Leadership and Management

Sean Hopwood
MBA President and Founder at Day Translations, Inc.

Companies today seek to have a dynamic office environment where department teams and top management teams can communicate effectively and clearly.

Effective communication enables companies to completely tap into the distinct talents, insights and knowledge of its employees. The benefits reaped by companies are more than just profits. Open discussions and healthy exchange of information often leads to the development of a strong community within a company. This makes workers happy and confident. They also tend to do more than what is expected of them.

It is important for a company’s leadership to establish a forward-thinking corporate culture, where members of the team are happy to contribute innovative ideas. Improving internal communication leads to active discussions that can help streamline processes, create faster workflows, improve teamwork and inter-departmental coordination, and increase productivity. Here are some ideas to achieve internal team communications effectively.

1.         Enable conversations within the entire company

Conversations are often more meaningful when done face-to-face, but it is not always possible with a company, especially if the company is bigger and there are several departments and a large number of employees. However, it is beneficial to use inter-office instant messaging.

  • You can archive individual and group chat logs and use them as reference.
  • Instant messaging allows for seamless collaboration with project members even if some of them are offsite.
  • Managing multiple conversations at the same time becomes easier and more productive.
  • It offers chances to those who are more adept at expressing their thoughts in written form rather than voice.
  • Fees for long distance calls are eliminated.

All the points above only say one thing: management should encourage its employees to properly communicate. The manager, department head or the company president or the CEO should establish the way for the company employees to exchange information, questions and ideas. It will serve the company better to have its own instant messaging system. This will empower employees to transfer knowledge, build stronger connections with their peers and find answers from their colleagues without hesitation.

2.         Improve vertical and horizontal communications

Find the right internal team communication tools for you company so you can encourage communication. It is important to connect employees at all levels, from peer to peer (horizontal communications) and employee and manager (vertical communications). When open communication is in place, individual employees are able to have a voice on topics and issues that concern the worker.

For projects, find a robust collaboration app that will allow top executives to listen to the voice of employees for transparency, make use of their wisdom and knowledge and keep track of the suggestions of employees.

Collaboration tools make every stakeholder responsible and accountable. Team members would find more value with the energy and time they invest on a project, knowing that their inputs are valued by managers and owners,

Employees, especially those who meet customers directly, understand the business better from the perspective of consumers. Their knowledge could be very advantageous for the company, increase tasks and help make improvements in customer service.

While employees may have several actionable ideas that can be beneficial to the company, they need management to move those ideas forward. Which is why it is important to encourage open horizontal and vertical discussions because even if ideas put forward by employees are sound, managers have to be involved in the discussions, accept the ideas, present them to top management and work for the ideas to be implemented.

3.         Create a budget

Attaining success from any program for internal team communication, a company must have the right resources. This means planning a budget, which can be more meaningful if the organization weighs and evaluates the downsides of not investing in the ability to share constructive feedback and concerns, discover information and build stronger relationships with their peers. These are important in helping them perform better.

To help you create a cost-effective budget, consider these:

  • The cost to recent employee turnover
  • Effectiveness of the customer service group and the loyalty and retention of customers
  • Employee morale and engagement, or the lack of it
  • Misunderstandings, missed opportunities and miscommunication that caused lost revenues
  • Product development and improvement of the quality of service
  • Pros and cons of using the current internal team communication programs

Your web form on your organization’s intranet or your suggestions box might not be enough. If your employees are not using those methods, it does not mean that they are happy with the way things are going. They might be thinking that nothing happens to their suggestions anyway. If they were not sending suggestions, it would be difficult to get them to start again using the old methods, even if you implement a new plan for internal marketing.

What you should do is to find a program that will enable management to collect and review suggestions from employees that will be easier, logistically. Likewise, this will send a strong message to your employees that you are serious about listening to their comments and suggestions.

4.         Measure the impact and effectiveness of your internal team communication

The success of campaigns for internal team communication often provides results that go beyond the initial cost. You can show these results by reviewing the campaign in different ways:

  • Review the status of current staff retention
  • Do a survey on employees’ job fulfillment and happiness
  • Analyze the changes in sales, profits and productivity

Positive results could mean that management would be willing to invest in other solutions for internal communications program.

5.         Use leadership strategically to implement change

Employees follow the example of their leader. In order for you to create change within your office, your managers, directors and executives must support worker engagement, transparency and knowledge sharing. Team managers, department head and senior executives should back up the directions of supervisors and other personnel in a position to lead. Collaboration is key to making this work. Employees perform better at their jobs when the company support open conversations for the entire company.

When a company improves its its vertical and horizontal communications, management can receive additional feedback from its employees. Results you can realize include employee retention and engagement as well as improvement in the performance of workers.

However, if you are to ensure that changes are to take place, management must inspire all its employees by participating in the internal team communications program.

  1. Improve internal team communication

Even if you have a communication tool in place, it’s the manager’s role to ensure that your teams have constant and clear flow of communication. Every member of the organization has a right to be heard, and they might have suggestions that would prove beneficial to the company. This means that the office is communication-friendly.

7.         Create a communication-friendly workplace

It’s your responsibility as the head of the organization to set the example by communicating constantly. Start the workday by greeting your team and encourage the flow of conversation as soon as everyone’s in the office. You can communicate your feelings early, challenge various ideas and ask questions to keep conversations going.

Encourage you employees to eat together instead of eating from their desks so they can have a change to communicate with one another, strengthen their bonds and interact socially.

Having an open-door policy means that you must literally keep your door open often. This tells your employees that you are available to them whenever they want to talk with you and that you are willing to listen to them.

8.         Communicate often

It is better to have monthly one-on-one meetings as your employee review. It gives you the chance to be updated on what is required for them to contribute to the group or department, how they feel and where they are at their work. Allot at least one hour each month to conduct your short meetings.

Hold a once a week open forum for your entire team. Encourage team members to share their concerns and ask questions. Use this weekly forum to update employees on your new and upcoming projects. Update employees on current objectives, key results and team goals. Conducting open forum every week engage employees, encourage them to participate and make them feel that they are valued.

Communication should never be a one-way thing where instructions come only from the head of the department, the manager or the president. There must always be two-way communication with everyone participating in the discussion.

9.          Be open to feedbacks

Keep in mind that some staff members might feel shy about vocally sharing their opinions. It is a good idea to have paper and pens you can pass around to they can submit questions and comments without revealing their identity.

Anonymous feedback is essential in any office because there are employees who are hesitant to openly share their feelings or making their complaints known.

Make sure that praising employees for excellent performance is done publicly and frequently, to ensure that the office vibe is always high and positive.

Let employees know about big company news in a less formal way.

10.          Communicate in a positive way

As a leader, it is also your responsibility to mind your body language, which is stronger than words said verbally. You should communicate with employees with a positive physical stance. Smile, do not cross your arms, sit upright, maintain eye contact and keep your mobile phone or your tablet away from you.

Although open communication should be encouraged, you should keep in mind as a leader not to over-communicate. Minimize sending emails to your employees especially after office hours. Allow your employees to rest after work because those times belong solely to them.

Image Copyright: rawpixel / 123RF Stock Photo

Sean Hopwood
MBA President and Founder at Day Translations, Inc.

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